‘Racing is in the DNA’: Audi to join Formula One from 2026 season

Audi has announced it is to make its debut in Formula One in 2026. The German marque announced it will join the sport as an engine manufacturer and is expected to strike a partnership with the Sauber team, currently running under the Alfa Romeo name and for whom it will provide full factory backing. Shortly after the announcement Alfa Romeo stated they would conclude their deal as title sponsor with Sauber at the end of the 2023 season.

The FIA last week confirmed the new power unit regulations due to come into play in 2026 and Audi, who had been long expected to enter the sport, confirmed their decision at Spa-Francorchamps before Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix. It is the first major step into F1 for Audi’s parent company, the Volkswagen group, which also owns Porsche, who are expected to also join the grid in 2026 in a partnership with Red Bull.

F1 is enjoying a surge in popularity and had been attempting to encourage new manufacturers to enter the sport when considering its next set of engine regulations. “Racing is in the DNA of Audi. If you think about Le Mans, DTM and Formula E, we have always been very active and very successful,” said Markus Duesmann, chairman of the Audi board. “We want to continue this success story in F1.”

Duesmann emphasised the increased role electrical elements in the power units would play and the intent to run the engines on fully sustainable fuels as key in Audi’s decision-making process. The engines will be manufactured at its Neuburg base in Bavaria, led by Adam Baker. The company said it would formally announce the team with whom it will partner before the end of the year.

Audi had previously placed a central focus of its racing activities in sports cars, enjoying enormous success at the Le Mans 24 Hours, where it has taken victory 13 times.

“I am delighted to welcome Audi to Formula One, an iconic automotive brand, pioneer and technological innovator,” said the F1 chief executive, Stefano Domenicali. “This is a major moment for our sport that highlights the huge strength we have as a global platform that continues to grow. It is also a big recognition that our move to sustainably-fuelled hybrid engines in 2026 is a future solution for the automotive sector.”